It’s hard to not have it taken the wrong way by adult autistics, when you openly state as a parent that you fighting the autistic traits of your son. It will no doubt often come across as if you are declaring autistic adulthood as something to be avoided at all costs (as if such a thing was even possible in the first place might I add). But that is not my aim; or even might I venture, the aim of other parents trying to lessen the challenging symptoms of autism in their children. We are just doing everything we can – as parents, regardless of the autism per se – to help our children gain the skills they need to one day function as independent happy adults for the sad foreseeable day that we’re no longer around to care for them.
We are just fulfilling our role as nurturer, educator, and loving parent. We’re no more attempting to “wipe out their autistic identity” than a parent who makes their child do maths homework is trying to wipe out their love of alternative activities that they would much rather be doing (such as art, or bike riding). (And now I’ve probably gone and offended a bunch more people by over-simplifying with my comparison. Forgive me that for now.) Every parent is tasked with the job of helping their child rise to whatever challenges they face; we would be considered neglectful – or even abusive – if we didn’t.
There are oh so many caveats I could add about not torturing the child with the efforts to overcome autistic behaviour, not misunderstanding the function and role of stimming, not holding them back from their passionate interests, blah blah blah. Why does no one ever assume that we know all this already; the automatic assumption is that we are evil uninformed parents trying to break our children down. Why must we constantly put in caveats that make our blog posts long and tiresome as we try to unoffend and say the right thing in just the right way.
But I am tired of arguing tonight, about nuances and intentions and unintentions. I want to end the night on a smile and a bit of light-hearted fun. So I am sharing with you one of my favourite segments from some stand-up comedy by Dara O Briain, which includes a whole bit about accidentally insulting people by saying we don’t want our children to grow up to be like them. He even touches on genetic determinism, but I’m just using fancy talk now. It has a lot of other fun stuff in there too that will make you laugh by gum.
And if you’re not smiling yet, then let me just finish with the favourite song currently of both my boys, this always brings a smile to this mummy’s face anyway: